Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Of little hands and bottoms

I get the privilege of staying home with my little son and being a full-time mom. Several days a week, I also get to take care of some of his little friends in our home. Overall, I love it. Overall.

Some days I am pulling my hair out. Other days I probably should be pulling my hair out, but I'm laughing too hard. And I'm always pretty thankful when it's one of the latter.

Like today.

I have two tired boys who won't take a morning nap, thus demolishing my plans to do some writing and note-taking. But after a quiet time they're not grumpy, so they play nicely for awhile as we listen to cowboy music and I scribble in my notebook. Then I start to get lunch ready. Suddenly, they are the World's Hungriest Toddlers, trying to eat everything from raw carrots and celery out from underneath my chopping knife to cheerios they found on the floor to the chocolate chips they spy on the counter.

Chicken and veggie potpie is finally in the oven and we go out to the living room to play. One of the boys loves cars and tractors, so I grab a cookie sheet and make a ramp with a wooden stool. I'm going to be like one of those awesome mom bloggers who comes up with these creative ideas for playing with her children.

Well, little boys may love trucks and cars but intuition doesn't always equal smarts. Both of them were interested in the ramp, but more for sitting on then for rolling their vehicles down. I caught myself saying, "What part of 'block the road' do you not understand?" while laughing as I removed yet another little bum from the sheet pan ramp.

They eventually figured it out and we had some fun races down the ramp. Their favorite was loading all five of the vehicles we had onto the sheet pan all at once so they could race down together. They never did get that if they sat at the end of the ramp, the tractors wouldn't actually race...they'd just stop. I'd have 4 innocent eyes blinking up at me after a pileup saying quite plainly, "I didn't know that would happen."

Then I got this inspiration. If I got all my sheet pans, we could make a road! Then I could actually blog about it! You of those "Activities for a Rainy Day" blogs that gets pinned a million times.

So we made a sheet pan road and I started showing my son's friend how to drive his tractor on it. He sat there, on top of a sheet pan, banging the tractor up and down, when I turned to see if my son might get it. And there he sat, calmly holding a sheet pan and banging it against his head.

I couldn't stop laughing.

Enter lunch. In spite of their ravaging earlier, neither child would eat a single thing I put in front of them. My rascal burned his tongue on a piece of chicken and spent the rest of the meal blowing on the food on his fork and saying, "Hot, hot," while tapping it with his hand to test the temperature, eating about 5 bites in total. His friend ate about the same amount, scrunching up his nose at everything I tried to give him. I eventually caved and handed him his bottle, but even that merely started getting dumped on his tray.

That's when a mom says, "The end. Nap time."

And now they sleep. And I write. And laugh about ideals and silly little boys that know nothing about mom blogs.

Enjoy the moments. They won't last forever.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Ruth, Laura Ingalls Wilder, and Me

When Nate and I went on vacation last month, we visited the Laura Ingalls Wilder birthplace in Pepin, WI. Loved going there because I'm a bit of a Laura Ingalls Wilder freak, even though the cabin and museum weren't that impressive. I jabbered to my husband all about the Ingalls family and reminisced about reading the books as a seven-year-old. So naturally I fell to reading them again once we got home. Just finished the series and loved them just as much as ever. Every time I read them, something new strikes me.

This time around I was amazed by the Ingalls' family simple trust in God for what came their way. They worked hard, doing their best, and left the rest in God's hands. They weren't trying to be super spiritual, either. It was their way of life. You don't complain. You don't whine. You're just thankful for what you have and make do for what you don't have. You just did life. You worked hard, with no excuses. You performed your chores and housework every day and that was just a part of life. You didn't wish that things were easier, although you worked toward a day when you hoped they would be.

Today as I read from the book of Ruth in the Bible, I read about Ruth gleaning in the fields to provide barley for herself and her mother-in-law. This was the description of the field overseer of her:

She said, 'Please let me glean and gather among the sheaves after the reapers.' So she came, and she has continued from early morning until now, except for a short rest.

Ruth worked hard. She faithfully did her job.

Sometimes as a mom, it's so easy for me to get stuck in a "poor me" mentality. I have to take care of this exhausting little man all day. I have to do dishes every day. I have to keep the house tidy. I have to figure out how to make our budget work this month. I have to do all this and no one thanks me.

It comes from our culture, that teaches us that we are entitled to the absolute best for us. But I can't blame it all on the culture. I'm guilty of giving in to the voice in my head.

And so I've decided to buck up a little bit. Perhaps housework isn't my favorite activity, but it's necessary, so I'm choosing to be faithful in it. Perhaps being a mom is thankless sometimes. Who says I need to be thanked? God sees and knows every little thing I do, and he appreciates it. He cares.

In a world where everyone lives to please themselves, women who can fulfill their calling with a quiet and thankful heart seem to be few and far between. But that is the desire of my heart. And it's not going to happen on its own.